Until this week, when I started to feel much, much better, every couple of days I have looked through this blog of mine for clues. Because I've always written about my mental health issues one way or another and it serves a a useful personal history for me in this way. I've been asking myself, have I ever felt this bad before? Has this year really been this shite? Why now? What am I doing so wrong? And at a certain point last week I would have said, Janet you are doing everything so very wrong, nothing you can do will ever be right, and so on. Thoughts of ending it all came tumbling through my mind, often at breakneck speed. At first I could recognise these thoughts for the utter evil they were and remind myself of the great loves in my life and my responsibilities but as the week progressed, there were these other thoughts that it would be like sinking into a big soft bed with clean sheets followed by the most blissful nothing ever. Luckily on the worst day, G was around and I asked him not to leave me alone and he didn't. That made me feel a little better but it was still pretty horrible and although things have been a bit tenuous, what with work, school politics, winter and various life decisions not moving along as fast as I would like, my mood went from a bit blah into a hideous crazy downwards spiral within a week and a bit. It was so bad that my doctor and psychiatrist spoke about me on the phone to each other and at one point my doctor was asking me whether I felt like I needed to be in hospital. That shocked me. Still, even though it would have been public hospital, the idea had some appeal. I decided that I would be OK at home but it did really shock me that he asked.
A month or so ago, at the direction of my psychiatrist, I stopped taking one of my medications and as it wasn't a big dose, there wasn't much of a plan about it. Let's just stop and see what happens, she said. After a few days I stopped sleeping properly and then the sleep became worse and after a few nights of much missed sleep I started to get that feeling you do after you've been out partying all night and still go to work the next day. Kind of stretched taught, greasy and a bit trippy. I took a day off work and went to see my doctor. He prescribed some valium which seemed to do the trick. The next week at work wasn't great - there was a day when I turned on my computer in the morning and burst into tears - but other than that it was bearable enough.
Over the next weekend though, my mind started to go to total crap. At the follow up appointment with my doctor, the one where I blurted out how bad things really were inside my head, I agreed to go and see my psychiatrist. Luckily I was able to get an appointment a day later. It was a pretty intense discussion and she seemed to think I had been a bit angry about the decision to go off the other medication and to be honest I guess I would rather be fat and getting on with my life than crazy and not, so while I understood the reasons for not taking the zyprexa any more, yes, I was a bit pissed off. That said, I would have been happy to go off it and just be on the lithium but that doesn't seem to do the trick for me at the moment. Anyway she also had the theory that I might be one of those people who are sensitive to valium, that it may have been disinhibiting in some way and that this may have caused the rapid downwards spiral. She prescribed me another anti psychotic - one so old school that I had to go to three chemists before I found someone that stocked it. I didn't want to take the medication because in my mind bipolar is fine and all very well as long as I am controlling my symptoms. However when I have symptoms or things go wrong, it is so unpleasant and demeaning that I have a big issue with the diagnosis itself. It didn't help when the fill in team leader at work suggested that despite having a doctor's certificate that I might feel better if I came in and did some work from the carer's room, because that would make (depressed) me feel better. Urgh. Anyway I have stuck with the new medication, even increasing to the maximum recommended by the psychiatrist and despite feeling a bit in la la land (which could well pass in a week or two), I am feeling much, much better. No horrible thoughts. I've been able to drive, go to work, laugh a bit and contemplate the future with hope again.